Matt Lee and Ted Lee, aka "The Lee Bros."

Cookbook Authors and Boiled Peanut Entrepreneurs, Charleston



Siblings Matt and Ted grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. When they left to attend colleges in the Northeast and worked in New York City a craving for boiled peanuts overcame them.  By the time they had tracked down a supply of raw peanuts in the shell, salt-brined them (eight hours), boiled them (five hours) and cooled them down (one hour), their apartment reeked of “hay, sweet potatoes and tea,” and opportunity had come knocking at the door.

Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts wasn’t exactly an instant hit. Roasting peanuts brings them closer to the “nut” part of their name, but boiling them confirms that they’re “peas.” Boiled peanuts have a soft texture and a grassy, bean-y flavor slugged up with salt.  Rare is the Yankee who gets beyond the first few nibbles. Still, one thing led to another and with some choice publicity, the catalog and website of Southern pantry staples like stone-ground grits, fig preserves, and, of course, boiled peanuts was made. 

When an editor of a travel magazine asked them to write a story about road-tripping their home state in search of great food, they embarked on a second career as food and travel journalists. They currently write food stories for Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine, GQ, The New York Times, and are the wine columnists for Martha Stewart Living.   Add a popular radio station and two cookbooks, and the Lee Brothers and their favorite southern foods can be accessed across the nation.

Their first cookbook, the award–winning “Lee Bros. Southern Cookbooks”, weaves stories of growing up in Charleston with over 220 recipes for both classic (she crab soup) and innovative (boiled peanut ice cream) Southern fare.

The second cookbook which was publicized in 2009, “The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern” is a collection of all-new recipes for real home cooks that celebrates the South’s bounty of fresh ingredients.

There are more than 100 easy, healthy dishes for every day, that don’t compromise an ounce on southern flavor.   With these recipes—Pimento-Cheese Potato Gratin! Pork Tenderloins with Fig Gravy! Buttermilk Pudding Cakes!—you might have some new all-time favorites in your kitchen.

Simple Fresh Southern is the first fully-illustrated book—with color photographs of more than half the recipes—and it’s got further features designed with busy home cooks in mind:

These two come to cooking purely as enthusiasts. They’re not in the least obsessed with the region’s foodways or culinary history; they have none of the reverence for tradition so often woven into cookbooks written by true Southerners. Nope, they’re just here for the food.

Matt and Ted are both married, and while not on a book tour, give lectures, cooking demonstrations and cooking classes which can be booked on their website: www.mattleeandtedlee.com.